Friday, 8 December 2017

Medium-sized carnivores most at risk from environmental change


Date:  December 4, 2017
Source:  Imperial College London

In a surprise ecological finding, researchers discover medium-sized carnivores spend the most time looking for food, making them vulnerable to change.

Mammalian predators (commonly called carnivores) spend a significant part of their day foraging for food, and the more time they spend, the more energy they use. This makes predators that spend a long time foraging more vulnerable to changes in the environment that affect their primary resource: their prey.

It had been thought that foraging time decreases as animal size increases, but new research by Imperial College London and the ZSL (Zoological Society of London) shows this is not the case.
The team used data on land predators worldwide, from small predators such as weasels to some of the largest such as tigers, to demonstrate that among all species, medium-sized ones (between about one to ten kilograms in weight) spent the greatest part of their day foraging. Examples of such medium-sized carnivores include the Malay civet, Iriomote cat, Leopard cat and Crab-eating fox.


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